Tag Archives: Boston Red Sox

Babe Ruth

Two years before he left Boston to play for the Yankees, Babe Ruth thought about signing with the Chester Shipyard League

With his win over Philadelphia on the last day of August, Babe Ruth helped the 1918 Red Sox clinch the AL pennant. (Boston will not win another pennant until 1946).  That year as a pitcher, he went 13-7; his ERA was 2.22 & he pitched one shutout. He also started 59 games in left & 13 at first. As a batter that season, Ruth compiled 317 at-bats (his previous high was 136); hit 11 home runs in a year when home runs in the American League had totaled 98, & drove in 66 runs & hit for a .300 average.

In the World Series against the Chicago Cubs, Ruth was used as a pitcher (he had only 5 at-bats). He won the first game 1-0, pitching a complete game.  During the 7th inning stretch of  that game, which was played at Comiskey Park, a military band played “The Star Spangled Banner” although it had not yet been adopted as the national anthem. The custom of playing it before every game won’t begin until WW II. Ruth then pitched in the fourth game (the Red Sox held a 2-1 Series lead) & shutout the Cubs for 7 innings before being relieved in the 9th. The Red Sox won the game 3-2. The seven shutout innings, combined with the 9 he had pitched in the Series opener & the 13 he had pitched in the 1916 Series, gave him 29 consecutive scoreless World Series innings, which broke Christy Mathewson’s previous record of 28 in 1905. It was a record that would stand for 42 years. The Red Sox won the World Series in game six at Fenway Park.  It would be the team’s third title in 4 years & fifth overall (five of the first 15 World Series).

Ruth, who never really got along with manager Ed Barrow, even threatened to leave the Red Sox to play for the Chester Shipyard League, a semiprofessional team in Chester, Pennsylvania.  But Harry Frazee, the Red Sox owner, threatened a lawsuit & put an end to Ruth’s proposed mutiny. (photos credits: AP/Library of Congress; inset – Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum)